311220 – Morning Pages

A rant to end the year. Read at peril.

9:21.

I woke up late.

I slept late.

Last night was bad. I was fucked in the head. Had a tiff with one of those handful people that I really really care for. I have no clue how to show and tell these people that they mean the world to me and I get fried every time they go weird on me. I was so fucked that I ended up eating chips and biscuits and Maggi and all those crappy things that I’ve been trying to avoid. It’s fucking funny that on one end I talk about changing the world and making an impact and inspiring the world to live their best lives. And on the other, I am ranting about how I get triggered and affected by the way my people talk to me.

I can handle the world going bonkers – I don’t care about em. But when the ones that I want to be with go funny on me, I don’t know what to do. Everything comes tumbling down like a house of cards and I lose my shit. I start eating crap, I stop doing things (it was an effort to write this piece today). I slack at work. I paint all the doomsday scenarios and I put myself in the biggest loser position. I start thinking of myself as a lonely person walking down a long road leading to nowhere.

You get the drift.

Ok enough ink has been spilled on this.

Its a new day. And a new beginning. Even if its the last day of the year.

So the last day of probably the wildest year of our lives. Not even the shamans expected all that that has happened today. 2020 has taught me so many things that I don’t know where to get started. It was the first time when I faced “real” adversity and I realized who’s a bystander and who’s a shoulder. I got to know of my limitations as a person, as a human being. I realized the frailty of life. I started to accept that I may not be the gift to humankind that I had thought I am. I refused to let go and thing after thing landed blows that made me duck so many times that my neck and back are perpetually hurting. Even as I type this, my back is stooped and there is this pain in my neck. Am serious. Not hypebole-ing. If that’s a word.

So today I want to spend the day with my annual review and the plan for the next year. I have been working on it on and off the last few days but it needs to come together in a coherent document that I can follow and chase for the next year. I say this at the beginning of each year, and I will say it again – the next year is going to be big for me ;P

Fuck while writing this, I realized that seeing my fingers dance on the keyboard gives me joy like nothing else. It may not matter to anyone, people may or may not read it, the piece may be a meaningless turd floating on the world wide web, I still want to write. I still want to publish. I was restless the whole of last night. I couldn’t think of how to go thru the day when I did wake up but once I started writing, I realized that the world is not a bad place. The people I care for, even though I am hurt and all, I love em. They are my people. I accepted them knowing very well that they could spring in surprises. Of course, I need to do better with the ability to evaluate people! I just need to get stronger. I need to learn to take the pain of seeing the people I love push the self-destruct button repeatedly. And when they do blow up, need to have a strong shoulder for them to rest on. And a strong head and heart to lay them to sleep, if the shoulder is not enough.

So yeah. This is it for the day.

This is probably the hardest I had to think since I started these morning pages. Oh, I will link the yearly review post here (when I get to it, which should be today, it all goes well).

Over and out.

See you guys in 2021.

301220 – Morning Pages

Rant about how the world is being unfair to me. And how I would publish on a ‘Work With Me’ manifesto. You can ignore if you want to.

7:49 AM.

I was up at 530. And then I dozed off again. And then I woke up at again at 6. And then dozed off at 630. And then woke at 730 again. And just when I was about to sleep again, I decided that I need to get my butt moving. Took me two hours but here I am.

The year is coming to a close in a day and I am still to do my 2021 lists. Maybe I will spend the rest of the day with those. Let’s see.

So, I met with a friend from MDI yesterday (GK). This was the first time I was meeting with him, after MDI. And a lot has changed since then. It was tough to hold a conversation with him for the time I spent with him but it was compassionable and it felt easy. Guess that’s what cults do to you. Reinforces my belief that education at pedigreed schools and colleges is imperative.

I told him what all have I been up to lately. Asked him about his trip. Realised that he’s been spending time with dance. Told him that I want to pick up dancing as it will help my social skills. Our chats ranged from Jordon Peterson to Future of Humanity to Startups to Careers to MDI to common friends, food, and a lot more. I even narrated the outline of book2 and he seems to have liked it!

He talked about his belief that you could only be exceptional at 2-3 things in life and for multipotentialites like me, the real pain is to quit doing all the other thousand things that you know you are good at! May be that is the pain that I need to go thru to become great?

Oh, while parting, he sent me this…

Greatest lesson ever!

The other thing at the top of my head is that for some reason, the game (the world) and the players (aka people) in the game are not being kind to me. More so, I feel they are out there to take undue advantage. I have many examples but let me talk of two that are affecting me so much that I am, well, fucked in the head.

A, am trying to make a short film to learn the craft. And to of course pay a tribute to the track that I have come to love so much (Ankur Tewari’s Dil Haare). No, AT has not commissioned. He doesn’t even know this. I. am merely going. touse the track as backing audio. I don’t plan to release it except put it on youtube.

So, now, I have a limited understanding of the camera and I have been trying to meet people to seek help on it. And everyone that I talk to seems to be asking for a ridiculous amount of money. Even though I sound like an n00b when it comes to films, I am a co-producer with 2 short films now and I think I know what it takes / costs. And yet I am being taken for a ride. And the worst is that I can see that they are taking me for a ride. And I am telling them that I can see what they are doing and yet they are insistent! Funny No?

I am not expecting them to work for free. I am not taking away credit from them. All I am expecting is that they are reasonable. And yet they are not being.

B, The other is at the podcast thing. Without getting into specifics, people that I thought were nice and reasonable and easy to work with are acting funny. And I don’t like it. And I made it clear in as many words that I did not like it. And yet I am being disrespected. I mean all I have earned in life is a bit of respect (that too went down the drain when I had to take on debt to pay bills) and if something questions that, I don’t know what to do.

I was angry af but then I saw Pale Blue Dot and Steve’s video and I was ok.

But I would make some changes in the way I work. I’ll come to it in a bit but before that, I think the world needs to learn humility and kindness and niceness. The world needs to learn that they are not in a one-time, winner-takes-all game. Life is long and you are known by the reputation that you build. What matters is what people talk about you when you are not in the room!

Anyhow. So the changes.

Here is a list.

  1. Paperwork. I was one of those that would trust a handshake when I went into a business or work transactions. Now, I will ensure that everything I do will have a paper trail with everything in black and while. I need to spend time with contracts, terms, entry clauses, exit clauses, etc. I don’t like the idea of doing this and I thought I could change the way I worked. But no longer.
  2. Work With Me’ Manifesto. Because I like working with multiple people on multiple projects, I need to write a ‘Work With Me’ Manifesto that I would mandate everyone to read and understand and internalize. I would add parts about trust, kindness, respect, long-term thinking, etc in that. Will even make it public and publish it on the blog for everyone to read and comment and make it watertight. Each new project that I get onto, the first email that I exchange, would have this. #sgtodo
  3. Live in Public. I have been talking about it last few days. I need to accelerate it. You think blockchain will solve all the trust deficit that we have? Nah. Living in Public will. Each time I get into a contract with someone, even though it may sound premature, I would make it public and post on the blog and on Twitter (the two places that I trust more than God).

That’s about it I guess for the time being.

While writing, I realised. I am still not cool btw 🙁

Moving on.

Had an interesting epiphany yesterday while I was waiting for GK to arrive. I realized that since I started writing these morning pages, I have not been writing at all. Plus these morning pages are like journals where I merely talk to myself. I am not creating content that I normally would. the ones where I want others to read, consume, think, bring about a change in their lives, give me feedback on, etc. Need to change that in 2021. Maybe bring back SoG?

Talking of change, the other thing that I would change in 2021 is that I would work very hard on creating a brand for myself.

This is something that I think about every year but hardly work on – I am way too introverted and shy to do this. Plus I think what is that I have achieved to be able to tom-tom myself? Isn’t the world already full of too many cluster-fucks, self-congratulatory messages, neverending stories of pathos, societies of mutual admiration, and more?

Why do I want to add to that noise?

I don’t know yet but what I do know is that I need to be out there if I want opportunities to come to me. And more importantly to people that I know of. And I need a brand for that. And that brand needs to stand atop one thing that encapsulates it all. May be marketing. May be side projects. May be Goa. I don’t know.

But brand SG has to get elevated in 2021.

And finally, before I end this, Sonali’s digital art is now online here! Yay! Please head over there and see if you like it and if you do, please consider spreading the word, and still better, buying!

With this, over and out!

291220 – Morning Pages

604 AM

I have had a sleepless night. After quite a while.

Why?

Well, multiple factors. Missed deadlines at work. Passion projects seemed to be going sideways. Personal life seems to be going off track. People clearly don’t like and I’ve built my life being a likable person and in general, being helpful and all. A friend turned client called me at 11 to complain about a colleague turned parter. A friend working on a startup seems to be struggling and I cant seem to help him at all. And there is a lot more!

I guess life happened!

And so much more.

Like I tweeted yesterday, what a day!

It was so bad that I ended up loading on carbs like a mad man. All the lo-carb thingy that I was on since the last few days have gone for a toss. I would love to talk about what happened and why it happened and how it happened and if I was at fault. But writing about it and ranting about it would not help. I actually don’t know what would help. I guess this too shall pass. #note2self – write about these on #sgEchoChamber.

So, anyhow.

There were some silver linings as well. I have a few interns from SP Jain working with me to market the Marketing Connect Podcast and I had a session with them where I gave them gyaan. I realized yet again that I love talking to young people. Need to scale it somehow.

Plus, I was working out from Clay and towards the evening, I took time to see the sun go down at the Anjuna beach. It was mesmerizing. Doing nothing and watching the sun hide behind the waves. And since it was less crowded than the Baga where I normally hang out at, it was lovely. I must make it a practice to see it go down every day. There was this colleague at a point in time – Guru. He worked out of Goa and he would insist that we need to go watch it. Yesterday I saw that he meant. It was his birthday a few days ago and I must drop him a line, wishing him and thanking him for the tip. But then, he thought I was a nutcase and he may or may not read my email. Heck, his email address that I have may no longer be valid.

Anyhow, here are some pics for you to enjoy. I am proud of how these have come out. One of these has been edited.

I think I have the talent for photography and I must pursue it. What do you think?

Damn I wish I had more lives!

Apart from this, I am not sure I can write a lot, to be honest. The head is still reeling from all the fuckery that happened yesterday. Of course, I am to blame for all of it. I need to mend my ways. If nothing else, I need to become so unbreakable that even though things so sideways, I need to not get riled up and eat like a man coming out of famine. I have to be stronger. Lol, self-talk!

It’s still 630. And less than the requisite 30 minutes of writing. Lemme carry on.

Oh yeah. One of my old employers and the man who taught me most of what I know called me after ages. He wanted some tiny help. Did that for him. I realised that I would do whatever it takes for his approval. In fact I am realising that if you dont take people from your past into your future, it is not the greatest feeling. While the novelty of a new relationship is exciting, the ease of doing things with the old is something that makes work happen faster!

Talking of fast, life in Goa is making me realize the importance of fast, high-speed internet. There are a million things that you take for granted when you are in the commercial capital of the world. Fast internet is one of those. The entire last night when I was rolling around in the bed, I realized that I couldn’t even distract myself by watching a mindless film because I did not have internet. I couldn’t work because a simple Keyword Planner tool on Google would not open up. This piece is being typed on my blog that is using an internet connection of my mobile phone that is hanging at the edge of the building I live at and I am perched up so that I could be in the range.

I can talk about slowness if I have to but I think I am not the one designed for it. I understand the concept philosophically but I don’t believe in it. Yes, there are things that need slowness to happen. But then that’s that. We can NOT extrapolate those things to everything else, like a lot of people do. Life has to be in the fast lane. I mean it is very very unpredictable. And is random at best. You are like a blip on the radar and you may just go poof randomly. I’ve lost someone important this year. And I know at least two friends that have lost a parent. I lost a classmate from MDI. She was my age. No, I did not know her at all. Even at MDI, I would have spoken to her probably once in all of two times and never ever since. But when I heard about her, I was zapped.

To be honest, I have nothing against the concept of death. I even believe in it. The problem is in the suddenness, the unpredictability, the waste of an opportunity that people and talent have when they die. I mean we lost Rahat Saab this year. Imagine the words he would write, the fires he would ignite in our minds, the impact he would have had if he were around!

I mean we could have an earthquake and all this planning of the future that never seems to be arriving could be rendered meaningless! If there is one thing that I am learning from the day yesterday, it is that life is fucking short. And slowness has no place in it.

You ought to act.

Now.

There’s no time like now. No place like here.

Err on the side of action.

Ready. Fire. Aim.

Steve Jobs has famously said, “your time is limited”. It is my screensaver.

The wallpaper on my phone is Memento Mori. It is the memento that I carry along. Must get one real-life, physical one.

Do not wait for perfection. This is a lesson that a 73-year old man once gave me. And trust me, this man HAS seen the world!

Do so much, so often that the trail you blaze leaves others in awe and makes them inspired to do more in life!

With that motivational pep-talk to self, I hope I would get over the fuck-all-ness of the day yesterday. Time to get going and act.

Over and out!

281220 – Morning Pages

Today I talk about the best burger place in Goa (that I frequent often), a new project in Goa, and a few things from here and there.

719 AM.

I am up before the sun! Even though I slept late.

Yay! That’s an achievement! Now to fix the food. And add a workout. And I am sorted.

Food is also more or less sorted. I have talked Nicky (of NikcyM’s Kitchen fame) into whipping lo-carb meals for me, even though they are known for their burgers. Going by the hearsay that they are emerging as the favorite burger place of Goa – for both locals and tourists alike!

In exchange, I’ve become a handyman at his cafe.

Here’s a plug. If you like burgers, you HAVE to visit them. If you like your food served with warmth, you HAVE to visit them. If you like to eat with people that respect you for more than being just a customer, Nicky’s it is. Oh, and when you go there, say you are my friend and I promise he would extend a 10% discount.

Lemme indulge further about Nicky M’s. The first day I landed in Goa, Nupura took me to Nicky’s for a drink. At the time I was tired from a long flight and longer stay in Delhi and I was not in a chatty mood and I was not very impressed by the small, cozy seating. But once I sat down to eat, I was amazed at the flavors on my tongue. The buns and the patties are probably similar to other places but the sauces and the cooking was what probably made the burger I had special. It was just right, even for someone like who could be discerning af. I was hooked and I don’t think there’s been a day when I haven’t gone to them!

I did not know that I would become a regular. The couple that runs the place, Jui and Nicky, are so so hospitable. Not saying this because they feed me but because they genuinely care. This is how small businesses ought to be. I think I can call them friends.

Moving on.

So my first project is here. I call it Shumbur – 100 stories from Goa.

I plan to write about the 100 most interesting people I can meet that call Goa home. These may be from Goa originally or may have adopted Goa as their home but they have to be here. And they have to be adding to the state – you know, creating employment, adding value, keeping Goa on how it’s ought to be.

This may not evolve into THE most definitive list per se. But I shall try. I mean I only have access to those people that choose to respond to my DMs or follow-ups. So far I have sent these to some 10 people and not one has replied. Which is ok. I cant keep getting ignored.

This may take more than 2 years to do (even if I do one story a week, I will need two years) but I think it would be interesting.

I think more than anything else, it would help me with book2. So let’s see.

Ok. I got digressed. The laptop ran out of battery. And when I powered it up, I made the mistake of logging onto WA. That took away some time.

So the next thing I want to talk about is… I don’t know.

Damn, I lost the flow. The lesson is that always ensure that the laptop has enough juice. I am anyway hoping to get a new laptop as soon as Croma gets the M1 Air in stock. I have some points that I want to use.

Ok I know.

So lately I have been away from Twitter. In case you don’t follow me, I am @saurabh. I mean I do tweet out things but I am spending considerably lesser time on it. And I need to change that. No, I don’t want to spam the world there but I need to get active. The kind of connections you make there and the kind of access that opens us there is unparalleled. And I know I can add value and contribute and help others grow. While I grow myself. That’s how life ought to be.

So when I get active, I need to identify what I want to stand for. The thing is, for someone like me, an aspiring polymath, it is tough to get siloed into one. Plus every time I choose one thing, I fear that I will miss out on all the things that I am NOT choosing. You know, if I talk about films, I will miss out on books. If I talk of books, I will miss being a marketer. If I focus on that, I will get away from startup ideas. If I don’t proactively think of a unicorn-able idea, I would not be able to create a large impact in the world. If I don’t create a large impact, I would die unfulfilled. If I die unfulfilled, what’s the point of living this life and knowing all that I know and chasing all that I want to know?

I mean I can live like an “influencer” that lives in a bubble (I hope Daku doesn’t cringe at this) and post pictures of the mountains in the distance, the breakfast on the table, the biggini shoots, the parties, unpacking of gifts that “brands” send me and so on and so forth. That life is not bad either. Like I keep saying, being an influencer is not a bad idea. I wish I had the flair to be one! Of course, if you are Daku, you do none of the above and silently add value to your community, like he does. Or what I tried with SoG.

Ok, back at serious matters at hand.

I need to get active on Twitter. And before that, I need to identify what I want to stand for in life. The generic, all-purpose, please-all, ice-cream-like positioning won’t work.

Ideas anyone?


PS: So I have had Krishna and Prad give me feedback on all that I’ve been writing. Thanks, guys. While I don’t talk about your inputs here, I do add those to my Roam and think and plan to act on those.

PPS: Every time I publish these morning pages, I send these to a few friends on WhatsApp. In case you want to be added to the broadcast list, lemme know.

271220 – Morning Pages

I talk about, well, morning pages. And I talk about music, films, people, ideas and more. In a nutshell, just another day 🙂

8:51 AM

Another day when I woke up late.

That’s cool. I am finally in the Goa state of mind, you know, not worried about work or money. For a change. Guess the hippi-isation of me is complete.

So morning pages for the day. Since I started asking people about this, am getting great feedback. Note2Self. Stop using “great” a lot. The word has been sort of patented by someone greater that is hoping to make his country great again. I love how you create such slogans. I wish I could!

On the morning pages, BG told me that these are not meant to rant and then seek feedback. I agree with her and while I may rant, the intention is not at all to seek feedback. Ranting and being critical is my nature. I like being ultra harsh on myself and others around me. I have had people drift away from me cos of this. And you know what, it has worked well for me so far. So I am ok. Maybe once I stop being harsh, I will know if the harshness was actually working!

So despite BG’s input, I will continue with the morning pages in the same manner that I have been going in. Though I would take Krishna’s input on making these more about ideas and less about reflection and future-gazing.

Lemme start with a few ideas.

Remember that caretaker-hustler that I talked about a few day ago that is trying to sell me a disputed property? He’s back. This time he has a 4 bedroom place that he wants to sell for a crore and a half. I am not sure how he’s getting these fancy notions about me. Poor thing doesn’t know that am not known to have a penchant for real-estate deals.

Yesterday was a particularly useful day for ideas. Spoke to two Nikhils and talked about two different ideas. One related to events. Other related to content. The two things that I think I know well. Not sure which one of these would work but I realized that I need to be able to sit across the table to crack such conversations. I am not being able to do these virtual meetings and conversations well. Guess I am too old. Wait. Why do I want to abuse the older generation? Most seem to have taken it well. It’s me who’s an anomaly.

The thinking that I did on book2 in the first few days of moving here? That seems to have taken a back seat. That’s the thing about creative projects. If you stop working on those, work stops! So need to get going on that.

Oh, while I am writing, I am tripping on music from Dangal. Here.

Back to morning pages.

So ideas.

While talking to NA yesterday, I realized that I am more of an idea man than anything else. The trouble is that there are way too many idea-men around me. And everyone has learned that adage that ideas are a dime-a-dozen and execution is what matters. So, my value is diminished per se. That probably needs changing. Either, the ideas get so superlative that you can’t ignore. Or you find a partner that is as cool with execution. Like a Shikha. Or Prakruti. Or Akshay.

Wait. Rather than talking about ideas, lemme talk of an idea.

So, today I am supposed to go watch a filmscreening at the Museum of Goa. It is followed by a talk with the writer and the actors. There are some big names here. What if I put the film festival in motion at this venue? The guy clearly has a screening space for films. I have had this idea to do a screening festival for at least 2 years, if not forever. So, why not?

Here’s another idea

Get a house in Goa and convert that into a BnB. That challenges obviously is to manage guests in the times of COVID. But from what I am seeing, there are people that have moved here lock, stock and barrel. And there are people that are moving in for a few weeks, few months to work from here. If nothing else, it is solid passive income. Need someone to throw in the money though.

That’s the thing. Money gets money. Even WEB had access to money when he started his partnerships.

In absence of that, like Naval says, you need a network to create opportunities. And that will probably be the trip for me in 2021. I have stayed away from creating networks and time and again I have seen people reach places they don’t deserve just because they can network their way in. No, I am not sore at those people. I am surprised that I missed this simple fact. If there is one lesson that I can pass on to the next generation, I would say they ought to go to the fanciest schools, colleges, live in places that are above their means, get memberships at clubs, play golf and so on and so forth. These are the places where you get to meet interesting people. If there was a social network to get all these people online, I’d love to join that. ASmallWorld did that well in early 2000s. I don’t know where they are. Maybe create a platform for such people in Goa to interact with each other? What could this platform be built on top of? A Who’s Who guide in Goa? A magazine? Do people still read magazines? A physical club? Like Soho House? Again, do people frequent clubs anymore? And will people travel in Goa? Will have to think more. What do you think?

Ok, the last bit for the day.

Living in Public.

Everyone knows about building in public. A movement where start-up founders are creating businesses in public. They share what they are upto. They share the lessons. They talk about failures. They do small experiments to see what sticks. They pivot fast. Each pivot is public (far cry from the secrecy that typical startups are known for)

I think this living in public is going to be the future of life. It would make you more accountable, more accessible, more human, more authentic, more connected, more consistent. It would reveal your true nature. You know, like you are naked. If everything you did, even in the privacy of your bedroom were to be published on the front page of a newspaper, how would you change?

In one of the unpublished pieces I wrote for one of my books, I talk of a guy that dies in his bathtub. The guy outwardly is an Alpha, a macho. But he has these ducks floating in his bathtub. Imagine when the world finds that, how would it change your reputaiton? That!

So yeah. I want to talk more and more about this living in public. May be write a manifesto or something that encourages others to do so.

It beings immense peace when you know that you dont have to keep pretences!

With this, its over and out for the day.

See you guys on the other side.

953 AM

PS: Every time I publish these morning pages, I send these to a few friends on WhatsApp. In case you want to be added to the broadcast list, lemme know.

261220 – Morning Pages

I talk about where to take these morning pages next. And I post a few ideas that I have been toying with as I live in Goa.

910 AM

I woke up late. Even though I slept early. And not that I worked or thought hard last night. Just that I walked some 22K odd steps. Did that after a while, in Mumbai during the partial unblock, I would routinely do 20K. But since a month before Diwali, I hadnt been doing it. If I can do it for a week or so and get into the habit, that would be nice.

So yesterday I was podering who to make morning pages better. I think I have an answer. Here it is.

  • Krishna says that I need to stop thinking about the past and future and talk only about ideas. I don’t agree. It has to be a mix of all. But yes, I need to lean on ideas more.
  • Atul tells me that he would not want to see them on the broadcast. I understand it could be spammy. He recommends that I put it out as a status update and whoever wants to click can click.
  • I will make another broadcast list of people that I think like me and I will send these updates to them. This is similar to that bade log list where I email once in a while and update about how I am doing. I have learned that if you keep people posted, they know how to react and how to extend help.

So that. If you have any other inputs, am a tweet away.


Now, coming to ideas that I’ve been toying with lately.

Here’s one. I have been tripping onto Dil Haare even now. On loop. So much so that it has become the track that I am listening to non-stop while working, while writing, while walking, while putting myself to sleep. I am thinking, I will make a fan video of the track. The artist may or may not like it but I really would like to tell a story with Dil Haare as the background. I’ve already put things in motion as of yesterday. Let’s see where it comes.

Here’s another. I’ve been taking tons of pictures with the phone and I think I am doing a decent job at em. For a change, I am ok to take credit for things :D. So, I am thinking, I will start to focus a little more on photography and see if I can learn more about it and get a bit better at it? May be.

Here are a couple of pics for you to look at. Lemme know what you think of these. Can I make a career in this?

Calangute beach. Crowded af. Gorgeous af.
The filters of Snapseed make average photos look gorgeous!

Third idea. Get a bungalow or something here in Goa and convert that into a cultural space where doers hang out and do their things. I am not sure where to get the money for this one, but could be interesting to look at. It would allow me to hang out with the creative kinds, the kinds that I get my energy and ideas from!

Idea 4. On similar lines as the third one, open a co-working space in Goa. This again is with the intention of meeting interesting people. I use Clay once in a while here and it’s fabulous! If I was any closer to Anjuna, I would probably literally live there!

Idea 5. How about C4E Goa?


The trouble with all these ideas is that these are what I call, lifestyle ideas. These are good when you have one large income stream coming in and you want to augment that with little trickles. Or you want to give back to society. These are not really sustainable ideas on a standalone basis. Neither do these have any potential to scale. Am yet to accept that I can not create a unicorn and reach a billion people. May be when I do accept my inability to create a world-class impact, I would open up a cafe. But today, no!

So that.

What else to talk about? I feel like I want to write more and say more but the words are escaping me. Not words. The ideas, thoughts are escaping me. I dont know what to write.

Maybe I will come back during the day? May be not. It defeats the purpose of morning pages.

May be tomorrow.

Till then, over and out!

9:49 AM. Almost 30 mins.

251220 – Morning Pages

There’s nothing specific that I talk about in this one. Except for ranting about a few inane things. You may skip reading this one.

7:41 AM

The promise I made yesterday? About eating better and all that? Well, here’s a report on what all I had yesterday.
A sandwich
A green salad (yay!)
4 black coffees
2 Diet Cokes
2 large servings of Hummus, one with some veggies and some roti
1 medium pizza

I guess I did ok.

BULL SHIT!

Plus, as I write this, I have this lingering headache and my body does not seem to be moving. I guess this is what a hangover feels like. No no, I haven’t had alcohol in a while, except rubbing it on my hands. But everything is sore. Am I catching colf?

So anyhow.

Continuing for the day. I want to spend today planning and plotting for 2021. I am big on these yearly plans and I spend a lot of time doing these yearly planning exercises. Here is the plan I made for 2020 (and for 2019, 2018 and 2017).

Most years I tend to make decisions on the basis of these plans. And every year since I started doing these, I have sort of failed to achieveve things that I have listed in these plans. I aim so high so high that even if I get to a fraction of a percentage of these, I am happy. This time around it would be the same. I would So that’s on agenda for the day.

Ok. What else to talk about?

I got myself a hair cut yesterday. I mean the amount of hair I have, it was more of a shave than a cut. I entered a salon after I think 10 months and I quite enjoyed the experience. Each thing reinforces that I am not meant for a life where I do things by myself. I am more of asking others to do things. Even if they are personal ones.

I can see Goa getting crowded. There was a traffic jam on the road yesterday. The kinds that you normally associate with Goa’s most populous street (Tito’s Lane). While I enjoyed the melee, I was also worried about COVID. I now have had way too many close ones that have suffered and recovered. And some haven’t. And it doesn’t seem to be going away. And it’s impacting the work I do and the money I make and how I live. I was talking to a senior from MDI yesterday and I realized that I miss all the travel that I was forced to when I ran those events. I like being in new places, seeing new things, experiencing new things. One way to think about it is that I chase the new. The other way to talk about the same thing is that I don’t want to think about things deeply and thus I continue to chase newer experiences and get buried in novelty.

Oh, the food bit I talked about? I will try to get into OMAD today. I do have a Christmas dinner that I have been invited to by Nupura and friends. I am half tempted to not go there – for some reason, not in the mood to socialize. I tried a bit of it last night and I failed miserably at it. I am inept at holding conversations with or the attention of strangers. The other half is imploring me to go meet new people. I am on the fence about it. Let’s see. I shall come back tomorrow and report.

With that, over and out.


PS: This one was a struggle to write.

PPS: While editing this, I realized that this post is so inane, so useless, so mundane, so meaningless that no one would probably want to read this. Not even the ones that I send these updates to on a daily basis.

The idea of writing this was to get into the habit of writing three pages of text first thing in the morning. This was supposed to help creativity. I am not sure if this has been of any help so far. But I do know that I am writing regularly. At least for 10-12 days now. That in itself is a big win!

What was supposed to be an unfiltered stream of thoughts has sort of become a journal where I write what comes to my head. Of course, even though this is in the public domain, I redact personally identifiable information wherever I think I need to. Apart from that, I have started to sort of “live in public”. Similar to the building in public movement, I think living in public is a good thing. It will keep me accountable and grounded.

So, I may have digressed from what JC wanted me to do. But I am not complaining. The idea is to find my own rhythm, my own style, my own way of working.

So, while I am at it, there are a few ways to go from here on.

A, I can stop sending this to people. And send only the ones where I have something significant to say.

B, Continue sending these. And expand the set of people that I send these to. People that I think care about me but I don’t get to talk on a daily basis, you know, say Vanita. I can ask those people if they would want to read a daily update from me even if they are as inane as this one. This way, I can stay in touch with people?

In fact, since I have been working on that autobiography, I am learning that what probably matters at the end of life is the relationships that you create. Everything else is a byproduct. This is a far cry from what I would think in terms of spreading impact and cheer at scale. I must say, I am not sure yet. The thesis is still nascent.

C, Or may be a weekly round-up of what I’ve done in the week? That could go to these people that care?

Also, I could make this an opt-in thing, like a newsletter. But with my experience of newsletters that get delivered on emails, hardly anyone reads those. Even if they are from Bill Gates. So, it has to be delivered over WA and that too to people that really want to read.

D, Any other ideas?

So that.

What do you think? Should I send these mundane updates to people that I think love me? Help me decide? I am a message away.

241220 – Morning Pages

Today I rant about how I am eating like a pig. I beat myself about things. And I talk about the mountains and the sea.

6:48.

Woke up after a topsy-turvy night.

Not been sleeping well cos been loading up on carbs like a bodybuilder and Coke (not even Diet anymore) like a man that’s gonna get trapped in the Sahara. And since I am mostly sitting at one place (or riding a scooty to reach these places where I camp at), I am living probably the most sedentary life that I have ever lived. And funnily, it’s in Goa, a place where I was supposed to get active. Run, jog, practise Yoga, see the sunsets, walk for hours. I am doing anything but these.

While it’s easy to pin blame on things like no access to a kitchen, no routine, lot of work, I think the real culprit is me. I am choosing spending time on a screen over spending time on my feet. I am not prioritizing myself. Need to change.

Each day when I wake up I decide that today on I will go lo-carb, if not Keto (which is impossible if you are in Goa). And then I start my day with Kurkure or any of those million snacks available so easy around me. I am a sucker for crisps. And the moment I see something that I know will let me crunch it in my mouth, I want to eat it. And then like going down a spiral, one thing leads to another, and by the time I realize what’s happening, I’ve had butter, oil, bread, potatoes, and whatnot. Oh, and coke. Not just Diet. But coke. And I get bloated.

The other thing I have taken note of is that I get bloated easily. I call it bloating. It may actually be the beer belly or a man who’s too old and eating too much. Whatever it is, it is making me fat. And sad. And slow. And tired all the time.

Need to snap out of it.

It’s clouding my head so much that all I am thinking is food and all that.

The other thing that I am thinking about a lot lately is how would life shape up going forward. Especially with work. I have thought multiple times about quitting everything I am on and taking up a naukri. Even tried hard to get one during the lockdown but could not. I took it up as a sign from the Universe and stopped pursuing it. Now, I am getting itchy all over again about it. Few triggers. The lust for an easy life to start with. Second, the ability to support my people with the money I would make (we are hoping to do PPP awards, there is another short-film opportunity that would help cement Shikha‘s place in the industry, we could do with a larger team at Podium).

Fuck just realized. Even with work, I am more inspired by what I can do for things that I work on. None of those is a chase for things that come back to me? I mean all the people do come back to me. But they can choose to not come back. I may have that voice in my head that tells me that I played a teeny weeny role in their success but that’s just me. The same voice tells me that am the coolest dude around. Am I? Of course not. Similarly, am I responsible for the success of others? No! I am merely a meel ka paththar in their journeys.

So yeah. I think I am not making myself a priority and I need to do that pronto.

Starting with food. And then with work. And then with life. And here’s a postcard to end this post. A view from where I wrote this!

The photo does not do justice to what I am seeing. And how I am feeling as I sit here. The days here are so hot and humid that I am sweating all the time when I am out. Towards the evening, the temperature falls to a point where it becomes bearable. The mornings though are crisp. Fresh. The kinds that I love. There’s a nip in the air, the kinds that would make most people crawl under their rajais. Thanks to my upbringing in Delhi, I am ok with it and don’t need anything of that sort. In fact, I enjoy colder places more.

Brings me to another point. Mountains. Sea.

I always thought I was a mountain person for a large part of my life. But lately, I am realizing that I like these beach towns more. More than nature, I think what is important to me is signs of life. Vibrance. Human ingenuity. The life in mountains is probably tougher than at anyplace else and I have immense respect for the ones that live there. But the thing is, the tough life forces the life in the mountains to be, well, uncomfortable. I mean I can’t just go sit at the edge of a cliff and kill time. On a beach, I can spread a sheet and lie down all day long. At a mountain, I need to literally hunt for places that offer food. Here on a beach, those are aplenty (in fact, way too many for my comfort). In the hills, the roads are literally non-existent and you need to find your way around. You take one wrong turn and you would not know where you ended up. At a beach, you can either go towards the water. Or away from it. There is no third direction!

Of course, at some point in time I want to climb the Mt. Everest. And I enjoy the grind and grit and perseverance and effort and mental strength that it takes to climb a hill. Last time I did it, it was with Shravan (in Feb of last year) and if not for him, I wouldn’t know how much I loved the effort. The effort to reach to the top of the hill. Stay there for like 5 mins. Soak in the view. And then climb down. And once you are safe at the bottom, celebrate that you made it without any incident.

No, that was not the first time I did it. I have done a few. But I think the thoughts from that one are so vivid because I had climbed one after ages. And I probably did not have the words earlier. I did not have the ability to spot the emotions that I was feeling. I did not know that the reward is not the summit. I did not know that it does not stop once you are up there.

Anyhow.

Enough of rants.

Time to get going and get some work done.

Over and out.

7:43 AM

231220 – Morning Pages

In this edition of morning pages, I talk to myself about how it would be to live out of a suitcase. So far, it doesn’t look doable 😀

Morning. When I decided to write these, these were supposed to be the very first thing I’d do in the morning.

Mornings have been precious to me. I like the idea of getting things done first thing in the morning. In fact, my best work (ideas, thoughts, writing, etc) happens in the morning. That is why I have not been able to work out in the morning. cc Harshit. I want to have that feeling of having done something productive in the morning. Even if it’s writing all my ideas, thoughts, rants on a piece of paper. Or on these morning pages. Writing, rather, pounding on the keyboard has been my thing. I feel as if I have done something. I know these are not really productive things. I am probably being busy for sake of being busy, rather than doing any actual work!

Today however I broke the rule.

The first thing I did today was to clip my nails.

And I can tell you that I miss my nail cutter and filer more than I miss a hug from the people that I love the most. Really. The idea that I’ve been toying with about giving up my house and everything that I own? If I do implement it #in2021, I would not leave my nail cutter and the filer behind. Filer I can manage without but nail cutter I cant. It is as personal and close an object as your toothbrush is. Or that old chappal that has now taken the shape of your feet! Or you know, how you know where the switch to turn on the light in your bedroom is? You can reach out to it blindly!

That!

Nail cutter is that personal, intimate, close, required.

Coming back to the idea of packing my life in two bags, I am seriously considering it. Just that the travel bag may be too small for all the myriad things that I want to save – you know, the postcard that M & m made on my birthday, the photos of sgMS as a child, the post-it that Spa left behind on the green-board, the guitar that Vivek gave me, the Uke that Krishna made me buy, the paintings that Sonali has asked me to keep safe, the postcards that I have collected from all the travels that I have been lucky to have been on, the numerous books that are close to my heart. Fuck the list is long. For someone that wants to be a minimalist, I have a lot of things that I want to keep safe.

I need to reduce these so that I can fit them in a travel bag.

Wait. That may be too small. Maybe save all things that I can move in the boot of a car. And then take it around everywhere and live in hostels etc.

This actually sounds doable (getting a car). I can park it in long-term parking when I am on the road. I can dump the stuff at a hostel or something when the car needs repair.

Or I can rent one room somewhere and dump all my belongings there? I can totally see why storage units in the US are such lucrative businesses!

But the thing is, I need my space and I need my comfort and I need places to go during the day (I get bored with being at one place). With cheap co-working spaces offering me shelter and cheaper hostels offering me a bed, I think it is doable. May be this trip is an experiment in the direction? Right now, I spend my day in parts at a co-working space and in parts at a couple of restaurants where I have become friendly with the staff. Since there are not too many patrons anyway, they don’t care how long I spend there. I suspect once they get busy, they would not be as kind. Plus I have a fairly lavish space to myself, thanks to Rajesh Sir. If I did not have this and had to go back to a bunk bed at the end of the night, I may not be as happy in the head.

Plus when I spend time at restaurants, I need to spend money, which is ok. The sad bit is that most of these do not offer healthy eating options.

So, it has to be co-working spaces, hostels and a car. If at all. I don’t think I have what it takes to do this. I love people and ecosystems and comfort way too much to take this step.

Plus the pandemic has taught us that it hits the homeless the hardest. I would be an affluent homeless, if I choose to let go of my home.

Another option could be to create a hostel, a hotel, or something where I have a room that is mine and the other part is a commercial establishment. You know, how those moguls lived on top-floors of their hotels? But then, that’s like owning a home and not really living like a nomad with minimal possessions!

The final option from where I see things is that make so much money, so much wealth that you create a lavish space that is so well-appointed that you don’t really care about what it has and what it doesn’t. This allows you freedom from the mental burden of carrying things.

Wah, what a rant.

Actually, not a rant. Serious thought. This is how I talk to myself before I take large decisions. Self-talk. Structured mindmaps. And then letting things simmer in my head as I go about my day. And with this idea of being on the road all the time, I think it is doable. Of course, need to think of the money. I am getting by, well, almost. But what I am doing on a day to day basis is not moving me towards financial independence. And that is a rant for another day.

But I am seriously considering becoming that urban nomad. Let’s see if I can. Oh, and if I do that, I would carry my nail cutter for sure. Really.

Over and out!

PS: If you want to receive these on WA every day, lemme know. I’ll add you to the broadcast list.

221220 – Morning Pages

Morning Pages for 22nd Dec. I talk about the people I’ve met here and how I seek my characters in them.

Hello World! 7:44 AM types.

The eyes are yet to open but the head is already full of a million things swirling around. Mostly to do with what I could do from here on (in life etc). And a little about how I’ve lived the life so far. Plus it’s less than 10 days to go for the end of the year and I am in that zone about maxxing how I will live the next year. Yeah, I am big on these yearly planning things.

The zone is not the best place to be in. I get reflective, sad, melodramatic, and all that. I also get excited beyond measure. A new year is a new opportunity to do things that you haven’t done ever. While I will do a longish post on what I want to do in 2021 and beyond, there is one thing for sure. The book has to be out. Come what may.

In fact, I met this 27-year old yesterday that just moved to Goa a couple of months ago and is hustling hard to make ends meet. Of course, she is yet to get there but I loved her story. I think I’ve found my Udita, one of the characters in #book2. On the last trip to Goa, I found a character in Mrinal. On Sunday, Nicky helped me meet another person that’s been sailing for more than 28 years and can give me inputs on pirates and ports and all that. In the hindsight, the decision to be in Goa for a bit seems to be making sense.

Thing is, I am on the lookout for people and stories proactively and I am catching quite a few. It’s not being easy. I made some very open-ended posts on FB and even though a lot of people wrote, very few seem to be genuinely interested in talking. I am unable to crack the code required to do so. But whatever I have encountered have been really cool and fascinating beyond measure. For example, at the place where I am staying at, the caretaker is trying to sell a disputed property at rock-bottom prices and is at it all the time. Every time I meet him, he lowers the offer by a lakh. I think I’ll wait it out a few months and I will probably get it for free! Then Nupura told me about this place where people park their cars with a ‘For Sale’ sign and forget. For the book, imagine, I could write the actual directions and park a damn car for the rest of my life!

I must talk about her while I am at it. She is one of those rare super-connectors that actually know people. Most others merely claim. She does. I have seen it in action. I wish I could become that. She knows everyone by their first names. And if she doesn’t, she knows someone by their first name that knows everyone in Goa by their first names. She is separated by a mere one-degree. Now that’s a skill. And an opportunity. She says that Goa is like a village and everyone knows everyone else and what’s happening in their homes. Now that’s interesting as a facet. My book requires the characters and families to maintain secrecy for years. Is it even plausible that that would happen?

The other thing that makes her knowing of people special, better, etc is that she knows people from various circles. From restaurant owners to musicians to artists to filmmakers to chefs to business owners to investors and whatnot. I read a long time ago that for a person with limited talents to be successful, he/she needs to be a super-connector and with people from various disciplines. I think if I can get to a fraction of what Nupura has, I would do ok in life. Need to continue chasing her! I even thought about having her as a character in the book per se but I don’t think I can capture all that she’s made up of.

The other thing that I was dying to write today (yes, I think about things throughout the day and make a mental note to write about those when I wake up) is that the routine that I am hoping to make (and talked about it here) will probably never happen. There are way too many variables at play here and I need way too many things to go write to make for a perfect day. So that.

Unrelated. I realized I must cut my nails. Been a few weeks now. To a point that when I type, my fingers don’t even touch the keyboard! Damn, I miss my nail cutter and filer. Will probably buy one.

Oh, I have started to have regular coke (for some reason Diet Coke and Coke Zero are not available here easily) and that too in litres. It’s just fucking with my system and I dont know how to not have.

Anyhow. I can see the post nudging towards a rant. Time to thus take a break and get going with the day. Have meetings lined up from 9 AM onward and I have less than 20 minutes to get in some semblance of presentation on them video calls.

With this, over and out!